The tested and perfected Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake is bursting with lemon flavor and features a rich texture, without feeling heavy. A drizzle of lemon glaze makes this look just as delicious as it tastes.
Can't get enough lemon? Try these gluten-free lemon bars or add some lemon zest to this fan-favorite gluten-free angel food cake.
This rich and buttery lemon cake tastes amazing underneath a thick layer of lemon icing. It's dense, without feeling heavy, and so smooth with a delicate crumb. And let me tell you, it wasn't easy achieving this perfect texture. We tested this recipe five times to get it just right.
Looking for a chocolatey gluten-free treat? Check out the best Paleo Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Potato Cake (made with sweet potatoes!).
Why this Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake Works
We tested this recipe 5 times to get it just right. The first time I tested this recipe, I took the base of our lemon poppy seed bread and switched up some of the ingredients (including almond flour) and ratios to make it gluten-free. It was just okay, but the texture wasn't special and it didn't get the rise I was looking for.
The second, third, and fourth tests were a disaster and completely collapsed after baking, thanks to adding baking soda. I tried the reverse creaming method the fourth time and that did the trick. The fifth time was a charm!
- Tested and perfected so you can trust it to turn out every time.
- Perfectly dense, rich, and soft texture, without feeling heavy.
- Bright lemon flavor thanks to the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Gorgeous dome in the center with a golden brown outside.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients for this gluten-free lemon drizzle cake recipe. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake
- Gluten-free flour blend: over the years gluten free products (especially flours) have gotten so good! You need a blend that includes xanthan gum, so check the back of the package. We like to use Bob's Red Mill, which is a mixture of sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.
- Baking powder: this is essential to help the cake rise. Use baking powder within 6 months, so check the expiration date for best results.
- Salt: to enhance the flavors and balance some of the sweetness.
- Sugar: we tested this with white sugar and light brown sugar and both work. The white sugar is best in our opinion and gives the cake a lighter yellow color.
- Eggs: use room temperature eggs for the best results—they mix into the batter more evenly.
- Lemons: we're using lemon juice and zest for optimal lemon flavor.
- Milk: this adds moisture to the cake for the best texture.
Sweet Lemon Drizzle
- Confectioners' sugar: this is also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar.
- Lemon juice: this is gluten-free lemon drizzle cake after all!
- Heavy cream: adds a white color to the icing for a gorgeous look. You can omit this, but the icing will be more see-through.
How to Make Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This lemon cake is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Video: Watch How to Make Gluten-Free Lemon Cake
Quickly mix together the dry ingredients, including the sugar, in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the softened butter and mix on medium speed just until smooth and combined, 1-2 minutes. The mixture will be thick because it's only thee butter and dry ingredients.
In a separate medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients including vanilla, eggs, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the wet ingredients. The moisture and acid will overwhelm the batter and it will likely appear lumpy, this is ok. Continue to mix and it will come together.
Finish by mixing on high for 15-20 seconds until it reaches a somewhat smooth consistency. The acid from the lemons will leave the texture a little lumpy, this is okay and won't result in a lump cake.
Pour the cake batter into a prepared pan and spread evenly on top. Bake for 55-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake should come out with a few moist crumbs.
Remove the gluten-free lemon cake from the oven and allow it to cool for approximately 30 minutes then use the parchment paper to remove it from the pan and finish cooling it on a wire rack.
To make the icing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Place parchment paper under the cake and spoon the lemon icing on top of the cake.
- Use good quality butter. This recipe features a lot of lemon flavor but relies on butter as the base. A rich, quality butter will deliver more flavor and a pretty yellow color.
- Zest the lemon before you juice it—it's much easier.
- Don't be confused by the reverse creaming method. Mix the butter and dry ingredients first to eliminate the concern of over-beating the batter. This is ideal for gluten-free cakes because beating it longer will introduce air into the batter for more rise. Reverse creaming also gives it the most velvety texture.
- Use room temperature ingredients. The softened butter will firm up when you add cold ingredients to the batter, creating pockets of butter that melt when baked.
Here is some of the standard equipment we use for this cake and the majority of our gluten-free desserts. This section contains affiliate links.
Large mixing bowl or glass measuring cup to mix the wet ingredients
A hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat the cake batter.
A wire rack for cooling the cake.
A standard cake tin (we used a 1 lb loaf tin)
Make sure you have the right ratios of fat and liquid to gluten-free flour. We like to add milk and butter to our cakes for a rich texture. They can dry out quicker so wrap them tightly in plastic wrap if you don't plan to eat your gluten-free cake right away.
Adding an acid, an extra egg, or 25% more leavening agents can help a gluten-free cake rise. Beating the cake well to introduce air also helps (reverse creaming is great). This recipe calls for 3 eggs and a good amount of lemon juice so we have the rising bases covered.
Storage and Freezer Tips
Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze, wrap the entire cake, without the icing, in plastic wrap or foil. You can slice and wrap individual pieces of cake separately.
Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before topping it with icing.
If you make and love this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with #whatmollymade or @What_mollymade so I can see it and feature you!
More Gluten-Free Desserts
- Gluten-Free Banana Cake
- Best Gluten-free lemon bars
- Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
- Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Cream Pie
Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake
- 2 cups (296g) all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons (44ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (2 lemons) zest before you juice
- ¼ cup (59ml) milk room temperature
- 1 cup (125g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon (14ml) heavy cream or milk
- 1 lb loaf tin
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Wire rack
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 1lb loaf tin nonstick spray. We like to cut a long rectangular piece of parchment paper and lay it in the center of the tin with overhang for easy removal when the cake is done. Set aside.
- Quickly mix together the dry ingredients, including the sugar, in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the softened butter and mix on medium speed just until smooth and combined, 1-2 minutes. The mixture will be thick because it's only the butter and dry ingredients (Note 1 Reverse Creaming).
- In a separate medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients including vanilla, eggs, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the wet ingredients. The moisture and acid will overwhelm the batter and it will likely appear lumpy, this is ok. Continue to mix and it will come together. Finish by mixing oono high for 15-20 seconds until it reaches a smooth consistency. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the cake batter into a prepared pan and spread evenly on top. Bake for 55-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake should come out with a few moist crumbs. It’s ready when the surface is golden brown and puffed with a deep crack down the center. Tent the cake with foil if the top is looking too brown before the center is cooked.
- Remove the gluten-free lemon cake from the oven and allow it to cool for approximately 30 minutes then use the parchment paper to remove it from the pan and finish cooling it on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Place parchment paper under the cake and spoon the lemon icing on top of the cake.
This recipe is spot on. The flavors are incredible and it reminds me of a great spring time/summer time breakfast. If you are on the fence about lemon being “too overpowering and bold”, have no worries. It’s a very fresh cake with sweetness to it. Easy to make, top notch! I’ll be baking this all summer!
This is absolutely delicious!! So easy to make too! Always looking for gluten and dairy free desserts and this one has been one of my faves! The lemon flavor is perfect!